September 28 & 29, 2017
The third meeting of the CO-FARM partners was held in Naklo, Slovenia on 28 th and 29 th September. Biotehniški Centre Naklo hosted the meeting at their campus. The focus on the first day was on evaluating a range of potential case studies from each country and selecting the ones that are best suited for the module based on their learning potential and regional representativeness. Hearing about the diversity and extent of cooperation in each Member State was a real highlight for the partners and it was very interesting to learn about the similarities and differences in the way collaboration manifests itself across the EU. The second day began with reviewing the management of the project on the whole and a tour of the campus. Our Slovenian partners showed us the internal green wall in their campus that was built as part of the Vertical Plant Life Erasmus+ project to develop a training course on vertical greening systems. We also visited the campus shop that sells a variety of local produce, along with an external vending machine for selling local milk and cheeses which can be accessed at any time. A real highlight of the second day was the visit to Zadrgal Farm in the village of Komenda where we met Matija Zadrgal and Peter Svetina. They told us about their partnership in setting up Grunt, a social entreprise that employs five people with disabilities at Zadrgal Farm. Employees are trained and work alongside two co-workers who act as mentors, and another who has years of experience and expertise in employing and training people with disabilities. As well as farm work in the fields and in the outbuildings, employees are also involved in processing food. Dairy products are the main focus, with a sizeable yoghurt production, while pasta, biscuits and preserves are also made at the farm. The products are sold both on site and at markets, as well as through public procurement. It was very inspiring to hear about the way Grunt has created a viable and profitable way of creating good and reliable jobs for people who might otherwise find it difficult to get employment, and the effect this has had on the viability of the farm itself and the lives of the people working there.